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Competing models of entrepreneurial intentions

by Norris F Krueger, Michael D Reilly, Alan L Carsrud
Journal of Business Venturing ()
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Why are intentions interesting to those who care about new venture forma- tion? Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking, a way of thinking that empha- sizes opportunities over threats. The opportunity identification process is clearly an intentional process, and, therefore, entrepreneurial intentions clearly merit our attention. Equally important, they offer a means to better explain—and predict—entrepreneurship. We don’t start a business as a reflex, do we? We may respond to the conditions around us, such as an intriguing market niche, by starting a new venture. Yet, we think about it first; we process the cues from the environment around us and set about constructing the perceived opportunity into a viable busi- ness proposition. In the psychological literature, intentions have proven the best predictor of planned behavior, partic- ularly when that behavior is rare, hard to observe, or involves unpredictable time lags. New businesses emerge over timeandinvolve considerable planning. Thus, entrepreneurship is exactly the type of planned behavior (Bird 1988; Katz and Gartner 1988) for which intention models are ideally suited. If intention models prove useful in understanding business venture formation intentions, they offer a coherent, parsi- monious, highly-generalizable, and robust theoretical framework for understanding and prediction. Empirically, we have learned that situational (for example, employment status or informational cues) or individual (for example, demographic characteristics or personality traits) variables are poor predictors. That is, predicting entrepreneurial activities by modeling only situational or personal factors usually resulted in disappointingly small explanatory power and even smaller predictive validity

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